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Integrative Nurse Coaching

For most us, being told to eat better and being handed a piece of paper with a list of new food options doesn’t get us to make that leap to change the way we eat.
That’s true when we need to move from a sedentary lifestyle to committing to walking a mile a day or taking up an exercise routine. Making behavioral life changes that are sustainable is hard. Otherwise, we’ll all just do it.
You are not alone when it comes to resistance.
That’s where nurse coaching can make a difference – particularly if you are living with a chronic condition or facing an illness and these changes can reduce pain and maybe get out you out bed in the morning to face the day’s challenges.
Tune in to Healthstyles Thursday, August 20th at 1 PM to hear producer Barbara Glickstein interview
Christine Gilchrist, MSN MPH RN NC_BC and Caroline Ortiz, MSN, MPH, RN, NC co-founders of Integrative Nurse Consultants . They share how they work with individuals to make behavioral changes and their vision for the future of nursing and healthcare.
So tune into WBAI, 99.5 FM in New york City, at 1:00 PM on Thursday, August 13th, to listen to the program, or go online for a live stream at

Healthstyles is sponsored by the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College, City University of New York.

Plan for Greenpoint Superfund Site Worries Residents

By Helina Selemon

On a hot summer evening, Greenpoint residents filed into the Dupont Street Senior Housing building for the North Greenpoint Development Meeting at 6:30 p.m. They signed their names on a sign-in sheet and grabbed packets with community updates. They were met with sat down to hear from City Councilman Stephen Levin’s office, Jane O’Connell from the Department of Environmental Conservation. By 6:35 p.m., the room was packed.

Greenpoint residents have gathered on this evening because they want to know what is going on with Nuhart Plastics, a former plastics factory and current state superfund site that’s being turned into residential towers.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation defines a superfund site as a “significant threat to the public health or environment” that requires action. There are five classes of sites; Class I being the most dangerous. Nuhart is a Class II.

That’s part of the equation. The other part is what is called a ‘chemical plume.’ A mass of aqueous toxic chemicals called phthalates is sitting underneath this factory. Phthalates are a commonly used chemical to make plastics more bendable. BPA is an example of a phthalate. They’re ubiquitous. They can be found in soaps, plastic bottles, toys, shower curtains… you name it. The CDC says the effect on humans is unknown, but research scientists like epidemiologist Pam Factor-Litvak at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health says scientists have tried to find other reasons for a correlation between phthalate exposure and hormone disruption, cognition and behavior issues in children, but haven’t yet.

“We’ve measured a lot of other contaminants, a lot of sociodemographic characteristics, all that might explain away the association… and they don’t,” Factor-Litvak said.

Concern about community health filled the room. Laura and Mike Hoffman, lifelong residents who were in attendance that night, have said they lost family members and friends—some infants and some elderly—to rare neurological disorders and cancers they think are caused by toxic exposures in Greenpoint. They say they have sought out a health study on these diseases in Greenpoint for several years but never found one.

Several people have stepped up in front of the crowd to speak: Councilman Stephen Levin, Environmental consultant for the new owners of Nuhart Michael Roux, Environmental Advocates Jennie Romer and Mike Schade from Neighbors Allied for Good Growth. They all heard specific, pointed questions about clean up, chemical exposure prevention measures and requests for more air and soil data collection. Their answers, some more clear and satisfying than others, were met with follow-up questions or tense silences.

An expecting mother in the room bursts into tears during a Q&A session, muttering that all she wanted to know is if her family was going to be safe.

A mild shift came when Peter deFur, the president and owner of Environmental Stewardship Concepts, a consultation group that provides technical assistance to community groups, government agencies, and businesses on environmental cleanup issues, makes his way to the front of the room. Dr. deFur has recently been hired by the as a technical advisor by NAGG for the Greenpoint community.

Watching him field questions from the crowd was almost like falling into a trance. His baritone voice was like a hum, calming but seeming engaged with the concern from the crowd.

“I hear the term ‘acceptable a lot’, and I’m curious from your past…how does this compare with proximity to people and what is…” says one man in the back of the room, starting to ask a question. His voice got lost in the buzz of the room’s AC unit.

“OK, the question was—because I don’t think anyone over here could hear your question very well—you started asking about what’s ‘acceptable,’ and in our experience, has a remedy like this been completed in a way that protected the community’s health. Is that about right?” deFur asked.

“Yeah,” replied the man.

“And he’s interested in this boundary between using the term ‘acceptable’ and using the term ‘safe,’” deFur continued. deFur’s answer was yes, and as he explained to the community the tension in the room eased somewhat. They had some of the clearest explanations given all night. He ended with a reassurance.

“The question between ‘safe’ and ‘acceptable’ that sometimes agencies will have a very specific meaning for the term,” deFur said. “That is something we will explain, that term, and where the agency gets to that term.”

After taking about a dozen more questions, deFur tells the community his immediate plans would include meeting with the state DEC and interpreting data from a remedial investigation and feasibility study report, a study of the scope of contamination, that the agency will release in the next couple weeks. From these data, deFur and his team would make fact-sheets for the community to use at the next public hearing for the superfund cleanup. The night ends with warm handshakes and “Thank you’s” before he left for the night. It seemed both the community and NAGG who hired him would, for the night, breathe a little easier.


Helina Selemon is a student at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and was a summer intern with the Center for Health, Media and Policy. Tune in for her detailed report on this issue on an upcoming segment of HealthStyles!




Healthstyles: Staying Independent with the Help of a CBO; and more on End of Life Conversations

Source:  Tender Hearts Senior Care

Source: Tender Hearts Senior Care

Losing your ability to remain independent in your own home or apartment is a major challenge facing many older adults, as well as children and adults with disabilities. No one wants to go to a nursing home and even a move to an assisted living facility can be a difficult transition. As Atul Gawande points out in his book, Being Mortal, we have medicalized approaches to responding to loss of independent living, putting someone’s safety before their own wishes to maintain as much independence as possible and make everyday decisions about how they will live their lives.

For the past 50 years, one community-based organization in the Bronx has been committed to helping people remain in their own homes even when they have lost full independence in mobility or being able to cook or clean or care for themselves. RAIN was started by a nurse who responded to what she saw as a growing need for community-based, comprehensive services for homebound and elderly people.

On August 13th, Healthstyles producer Diana Mason talks with the CEO and others at RAIN about the work they do and their efforts to ensure that home health workers are not exploited, as often happens in home care agencies.

But first, she continues Healthstyles’ ongoing coverage about having the crucial but often difficult conversations about end of life preferences and wishes. This segment focuses on how legal advisers are increasingly incorporating these conversations into their discussions with clients who are putting together or revising their wills. In this segment, one nurse shares her own experience with an unexpected conversation with her lawyer, and her lawyer shares his perspectives on what people need to consider in planning for the end of their lives.

So tune into WBAI, 99.5 FM in New york City, at 1:00 PM on Thursday, August 13th, to listen to the program, or go online for a live stream at

Healthstyles is sponsored by the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College, City University of New York.

Healthstyles: Medicare and Desegregation


This week’s Healthstyles program features two interviews by Helina Selimon, Graduate student in the School of Journalism, City University of New York and summer intern at the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College. The interviews focus on the 50th anniversary of Medicare, landmark legislation that desegregated hospitals when it was implemented in 1966. Selimon talks with David Barton Smith, PhD, Professor Emeritus at Temple University and author of the book, Health Care Divided; and CUNY Associate Professor of Public Health Barbara Berney, PhD, who is producing a film on the this historical aspect of Medicare. Healthstyles producer Diana Mason talks with Selimon about her interest in this topic and its importance to everyone.

Dr. Mason also airs part of an interview with integrative healthcare expert Mary Jo Kreitzer, PhD, RN, FAAN, and co-editor of the Global Advances in Health and Medicine, a journal that focuses on whole-person and whole-system health and well-being, as well as complementary and integrative therapies. The journal will be offered as a premium for listeners who make a donation to the station, WBAI, 99.5 FM in New York City, or streaming at, between 1:00 and 2:00 on Thursday, July 30, 2015. Donations can be made during that time by calling 212-209-2950, or go online at Please earmark your donation to Healthstyles.

Healthstyles is sponsored by the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College, City University of New York.


How Medicare Changed Civil Rights in America

by Helina Selemon


Kozzi-clipboard-624x832In 1954, Brown v. Board of Education showed America that schools separated by race enabled institutional inequality, forcing the integration of schools. In 1965, Medicare showed America the same thing but in the nation’s hospitals.

Medicare, the federal health insurance program for seniors and disabled individuals, celebrates its 50th anniversary on July 30. It also marks nearly half a century of desegregated hospitals in America. The program, created in the midst of President Johnson’s “Great Society” campaign, transcended its purpose of widening insurance access to these populations; this program was a radical shift in healthcare delivery to minorities.

“It flew in the face of 50 years of history of the federal government had provided for this construction of segregated hospitals,” said David Barton Smith, Emeritus Professor of Health Services at Temple University.

The professor and author of Health Care Divided: Race and Healing a Nation said by enforcing desegregation, Medicare began to meaningfully address the gross racial disparities racism caused in health care.

Before 1965, healthcare was drastically different for Black people all over the U.S., especially in the South.

“Healthcare in the south and the north was segregated and access for blacks was quite limited. In many communities, blacks had no hospitals to go to,” Smith said. “They were excluded all together.”

The federal Social Security law as it stood prior to the Medicare amendment could not enforce racial equality. Title VI in the law stated that hospitals could not discriminate while simultaneously taking federal funds, but it had no way to ensure that was happening.

“It wasn’t enough because Title VI had no enforcement mechanism, no staff made available to enforce that requirement,” Smith said. “ It relied on a complaint process and complaint process are very difficult to use.”

Smith said the advocacy role that Black doctors and nurses took to change the legislation was key to the creation of Medicare. They collected complaints and lobbied in local NAACP offices push for an enforceable law.

“If it hadn’t been for the black medical activists, there probably wouldn’t have been a Civil Rights Movement at all. They were the ones in the Black communities in the South that were insulated enough from retaliation from the white power structure that they could act as advocates for the patients they served,” Smith said.

After Medicare was passed in 1965, the federal government had one year to guarantee equal access to care and facilities across the country. This meant inspecting every hospital and health care facility in the country.

Nine months later, there was still no plan from the government on how to accomplish this task. By the middle of 1966, John Gardner, then Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, decided his administration would have to recruit government employees to do the job.

Garner was initially worried about interest, but 700 employees, many of whom were civil rights activists themselves, agreed to volunteer. They were trained for two days before fanning across the country to inspect about 3,000 hospitals in less than three months.

Segregated hospitals and states were faced with two choices: to stay segregated and receive no Medicare money, or to take the Medicare money and integrate. In some facilities, Medicare funding could total up to a quarter of a hospital’s budget.

The financial repercussions made the social policy work. “Nobody talks about it but there’s a Golden Rule in health care: the ones that have the gold, rule,” Smith said.

Many stories of these inspectors and the desegregation process are being collected for a documentary set to come out in 2016, when Medicare celebrates 50 years since its implementation. Barbara Berney, Director of the Health Policy and Management Program at Hunter College, a program at the CUNY School of Public Health, is producing this film.

Tune in to HealthStyles on WBAI, 99.5 FM, NY on July 30th, at 1pm Eastern to hear more from Helina on Medicare’s role in the Civil Rights movement.


Helina Selemon is a student at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in New York City. She is interning this summer with the Center for Health, Media & Policy.


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